It’s been a bit over a month since my immediate supervisor passed away very unexpectedly. In that time, I’ve been treating his absence like an extended vacation in one of the places that he liked to go; Myrtle Beach, SC. But that only lasts for so long, and one has to move on, else it will start to get surreal.
His position has been filled by one of his subordinates, and life has gone on at work for the most part. Every now and again I get a customer that asks me what happened to him; just this past week one of our long-time regulars a German woman asked me where the big guy went to. I had to break it to her that he passed away and it was a shock for her. She had no idea. She confided in me that he was one of her favorites, and that he always treated her well. Which was true. She commiserated with me about his loss and went on with her day. Which sort of opened the wound for me all over again. But it gets better each time. I suppose in a year I won’t hear much about it anymore. The word will have gotten around finally.
Grief can be a funny thing at times. And tragic in others. For me, it’s always something that ebbs and flows. My co-workers either are really great at hiding their feelings, or just don’t express them at work, or are completely over the whole situation. One of my co-workers offhandedly mentioned to me yesterday a strip loin he had brought to the cutting room was the last piece of meat that Bob had ordered. Luckily, I didn’t lose it at that point, I just walked over, picked up the 14 lb loin and hugged it (also luckily, it was still vacuum sealed so I didn’t get meat juice all over me!). Granted, Bob hadn’t touched the damned thing, he merely ordered the box from the warehouse. It was just the whole situation with being reminded that yet another door was closing, and everything in that genre was going to be ‘post-Bob’.
Finally, I’ve been off and on corresponding with Bob’s daughter about some of his personal effects. He left a considerable collection of different items, from baseball cards, to coins, to books and music. At the calling hours I gave ‘C’ my phone # in case she needed anything. It was something to do, maybe to make me feel better, but a couple of weeks later she messaged and said in course of going through his apartment, she came across things that she thought I’d like to have. Bob and I had similar tastes in music, we both liked biographies and historical books, so I expect this is what she’s referring to. ‘C’ and I agreed to meet on the 14th, I’ll bring some boxes and we’ll sort through what’s there. She’s being very gracious about the whole thing, and informed me that we have time, as she continued to pay rent on the apartment to be sure that it’s properly cleaned out before it’s returned to the apartment complex.
After that, I think it will be time to put Bob in the background, for my own sanity if nothing else. I knew he was going to pass sooner or later, it was just the sooner that I didn’t really want it to be. I’m not positive that I’m ready to move on, but I’m taking vacation next week to get some perspective, and hopefully return to work ready to not spend so much time thinking about my friend.